Record Details

NHER Number:27731
Type of record:Monument
Name:Medieval manorial earthworks

Summary

Extensive area of now levelled earthworks, which are likely to medieval in date. These were visible as standing earthworks on aerial photographs from 1946 and as cropmarks on later aerial photographs. The site consists of a series of enclosed areas, possibly fields, defined by banks and ditches, possibly relating to a monastic grange or a manorial site.

Images - none

Location

Grid Reference:TF 6755 3845
Map Sheet:TF63NE
Parish:HEACHAM, WEST NORFOLK, NORFOLK

Full description

March 2002. Norfolk NMP.
Extensive area of now levelled earthworks, which are likely to medieval in date. These were visible as standing earthworks on the 1946 RAF photographs (S1) and as cropmarks on later Ordnance Survey photography from 1967 (S2) and the Fairey Survey of 1971 (S3). Detail can also be seen on several NLA oblique aerial photographs of the site (S4) and (S5). The site covers an area of 710m by 545m, from TF 6720 3844 to 6791 3857. The site appears to consist of a series of enclosures and field boundaries. The most obvious component of the site from the aerial photographs is a square enclosure at TF 6759 3840. The enclosure measures approximately 50m by 45m. The ditches are fairly shallow and wide, up to 4.5m at one point. It may have a moated element to its construction. This enclosure is located in area of the field that produced a reasonably quantity of Roman sherds (NHER 13007). Also when the dimensions are compared with the Late Iron Age to Roman enclosure less than a kilometre to the west (NHER 13032), they are almost identical. However, this enclosure appears to be part of a much larger site that was still standing earthworks on the RAF 1946 photography (S1), making such an early date quite remarkable. It seems more likely that the enclosure and associated linears are part of the medieval landscape.

This enclosure is co-joined to two northwest to southeast linears. A second enclosure is also attached to the east, at TF 6766 3840. It measures 25m by 21m, the ditches are up to 2m wide. To the immediate south of this is a broad linear, which runs southwest for 100m until it joins with another linear aligned northwest to southeast. This massive ditch runs from TF 6738 3853 to TF 6762 3824 for 370m. The ditch is up to 4m wide. Many of the linear features of this site run up to this main boundary. To the northern end of this ditch is a possible bank, 130m long, running alongside to the west. This was only seen as a soilmark on the 1967 OS photography (S2). No trace of it could be seen in the earlier earthwork phase of the site.

Amongst these earthworks at TF 6755 3847 is a possible house platform. It is a low raised rectangular platform surrounded by a shallow ditch. It measured 15m long and 8m wide. It is located adjacent to a bank running from TF 6749 3842 to TF 6761 3849, 135m long and up to 3m wide. To the north of several linear and rectilinear features. These appear to form elements of enclosures and fields. To the west, centred at TF 6737 3846, are a group of co-joined ditches, which seem to define an area of rectilinear fields. To the immediate west of this is a right angled stretch of bank and ditch, centred at TF 6734 3845. This seems to correspond to a group of co-joined rectilinear banked features, approximately 25m by 20m (g) visible as soilmarks on the 1967 OS photography (S2).

The north eastern area of the site, centred at TF 6772 3386, consists of another group of ditches and banks. The main bank runs S. W. from TF 6774 3871 for 95m. The bank is then interrupted by a double banked and ditched feature, possibly some sort of trackway. It then continues at TF 6764 3862 for 78m. At which point another stretch of bank is visible at a perpendicular angle, to the southeast, runs for 60m. This feature is flanked to either side by a ditch. Another section of bank runs alongside the eastern of these two ditches. Centred at TF 6774 3862 is a cluster of rectilinear, ditched features, including two potential enclosures. Three sides of one enclosure, 95m by 35m, appears to be butt up to bank, although it is possible that it was cut by it. One linear that does appear to be cut by the bank, can be seen to continue on the northwest side of the bank. At TF 6774 3856 is a roughly rectangular sunken feature, 35m by 15m. It has a ditch leading into the western side. It is possible that this is a fishpond or similar feature. To the east is another low, wide bank, running from 6779 3855 to TF 6790 3857. It is 115m long and between 6m and 8m wide.

This field systems and enclosures that constitute this site are likely to be medieval in date. They are located to the south of Manor Farm (NHER 1448), so it possible that they are manorial in origin. The possible house platform and the square enclosure may indicate occupation within this area of fields. However, NHER 1444 located to the immediate east of the site, (now in the northeast corner of Heacham Park), is identified as a Cluniac Cell, attached to the Abbey at Lewes in Suffolk. The cell, which was founded in 1087, may have operated as a small grange, with associated fields and fishponds.
S. Massey (NMP), 20 March 2002.

Monument Types

  • SQUARE ENCLOSURE (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • BANK (EARTHWORK) (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • CLUNIAC GRANGE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • DITCH (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FIELD SYSTEM (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FISHPOND (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • HOUSE PLATFORM (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • MOAT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • RECTILINEAR ENCLOSURE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • SQUARE ENCLOSURE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • SQUARE ENCLOSURE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • TRACKWAY (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status

  • SHINE

Sources and further reading

<S1>Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1946. RAF 106G/UK/1571 3098-9 07-JUN-1946 (Norfolk SMR TF 6739A-B).
<S2>Aerial Photograph: Ordnance Survey. 1967. OS/67069 149-150 26-APR-1967 (Norfolk SMR TF 6738F-G).
<S3>Aerial Photograph: Fairey Surveys Limited. 1971. FSL 7181 6751 07-SEP-1971.
<S4>Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.. 1976. SMR TF 6738B (NLA 25/AEN5) 17-JUN-1976.
<S5>Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.. 1980. SMR TF 6738D (NLA 25/ANZ7) 24-JUN-1980.

Related records - none

Find out more...

Norfolk County Council logo Heritage Lottery Fund logo

Powered by HBSMR-web and the HBSMR Gateway from exeGesIS SDM Ltd, and mojoPortal CMS
© 2007 - 2021 Norfolk Historic Environment Service